Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/658

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638
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

telligent and industrious enumerators working from ten to twelve hours a day were not able to average a daily wage of more than two dollars each, out of which they had to provide a team and to pay its expenses and their own while away from their homes. Under such conditions it is not impossible that some of the less conscientious enumerators may have slighted remote corners of their districts. As the complaint of the inadequacy of the pay was quite general, and entirely justifiable, it is possible that there were considerable omissions in many rural neighborhoods.

 
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AN AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION.
By Prof. CLARENCE M. WEED.

During the last half-century the agriculturists of the United States have constantly suffered from the attacks of two classes of organisms, which have disputed with them the possession of their crops. These organisms are, first, the noxious insects; and, second, the parasitic fungi. To these tiny foes American agriculture yields annually many million dollars' worth of her choicest products. They form an omnipresent host of tax-gatherers, taking possession of the farmer's crops and enforcing their onerous demands without process of law, unless preventive measures are vigorously prosecuted. They are no respecters of persons: like the rain, they fall upon the fields of both the just and the unjust.

The authorities best able to judge have estimated the annual loss in the United States due to these little pests at more than half a billion dollars. Noxious insects, according to Dr. C. V. Riley, the distinguished entomologist of our National Department of Agriculture, occasion losses in the United States which are "in the aggregate enormous, and have been variously estimated at from $300,000,000 to $400,000,000 annually," and parasitic fungi—the rusts, smuts, blights, mildews, rots, and similar maladies of growing plants—according to competent authorities, cause an equal or greater loss. In single States and single seasons the damage is often frightful in extent. During some of the great chinch-bug epidemics the loss in Illinois occasioned by this one insect has amounted to over $73,000,000 a year; and in seasons not marked by an outbreak of such a great crop pest the injury is much more severe than is ordinarily supposed. The official entomologist of the State just named, Prof. S. A. Forbes—after years of careful field observation and statistical study—has recently expressed his belief that "the insects of the State of Illinois derive